2013 Infiniti JX35 3rd Row: Will Riswick Fit?
June 06, 2012
The Infiniti JX35 is supposedly a family crossover specifically designed with a third-row seat in mind. This isn't a midsizer like a BMW X5 that has some dinky seat shoehorned in the trunk just so someone can write "7 Passenger Seating!" in ad copy. I mean, just look at those elongated proportions. Infiniti did a good job disguising them with some swoops and fancy details, but there's no hiding the general sausage shape.
So, the JX35 should in theory have a third-row seat that's actually useable. But the question is, will I fit?
Generally, the secret to a third row being accommodating to those older than 8 is a sliding second-row seat. Basically, you take a little from the guy in the middle to give the guy in the caboose a fighting chance. This is the reason a Ford Flex with sliding captain's chairs is hugely spacious in the way back, but one with an affixed second row bench (like our Explorer) is not.
The JX35's second row slides a great deal. Its seat bottom also flips up to make ingress/egress quite easy. The GM Lambdas do a similar trick. As the below photo shows, with the second row pushed as far forward as possible, all 6-foot-3 of me had decent leg room. At the same time, there was still decent leg room for the theoretical second row passenger. In total, three 6-foot-3 people can fit in rows 1, 2 and 3 in the JX35, albeit with decreasing degrees of comfort as you go back.
Headroom could be a bit better, but that's usually the case in all third-row seats save for minivans, the Flex, Honda Pilot, Land Rover LR4 and generally anything shaped like a box.
Sure I look a little snug back there and a higher-mounted seat would increase comfort and space, but I think the JX35 indeed has a truly useful third-row seat. The Riswick test is a tough one and the JX gets a passing grade. Plus, it has a pair of A/C vents, which is a nice bonus. I can't think of another seven-passenger luxury SUV that offers this type of space AND accessibility to that third row.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 1,552 miles